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International Center of Photography Exhibit: Face to Face



Portraits of Artists by Tacita Dean, Brigitte Lacombe and Catherine Opie

January 27, 2023 – May 01, 2023

Face to Face: Portraits of Artists by Tacita Dean, Brigitte Lacombe, and Catherine Opie is an exhibition that features portraits of eminent figures in the arts created by three of the most well-known portraitists working today. The exhibition was curated by the well-known author and curator Helen Molesworth.

The exhibition Face to Face is supported by a catalogue that has been published by ICP and MACK, London. The catalogue is fully illustrated and has articles written by Molesworth as well as writer and curator Jarrett Earnest. You may pick up a copy of the catalogue at the ICP store.

This exhibition features more than fifty photographs by Brigitte Lacombe and Catherine Opie, in addition to two films by Tacita Dean. The photographs feature bracing, intimate, and resonant portraits of compelling cultural figures such as Maya Angelou, Richard Avedon, Louise Bourgeois, Joan Didion, David Hockney, Miranda July, Rick Owens, Martin Scorsese, Patti Smith, Mickalene Thomas, Kara Walker, and John Waters, among others. The exhibition explores the charged genre of portraiture, which frequently carries a sense of both intimacy and exposure simultaneously, and presents some of the subjects that often overlapped and were immortalized by Dean, Lacombe, and Opie. In addition, the exhibition presents some of the subjects that were immortalized by Dean, Lacombe, and Opie.

Filmmaker Tacita Dean develops works that are investigations of time and the course of ordinary life as it plays out in front of the camera. Particularly noteworthy is the fact that she has created a series of portraits depicting earlier artists such as Cy Twombly, Mario Merz, and Merce Cunningham. The 16-minute film Portraits (2016) by Dean catches the artist David Hockney working in his Los Angeles studio. This film is one of the pieces that can be seen in the exhibition Face to Face. The first scene of the movie consists of a shot of an artist smoking a cigarette while looking away from the camera and reading a book. While the visitor watches the artist read and smoke, they are privy to the artist’s working process and are given the opportunity to appreciate the little moments that comprise an artist’s practice. The painter Luchita Hurtado, who is 99 years old, and the artist Julie Mehretu, who is 49 years old, speak in the video One Hundred and Fifty Years of Painting (2021), which was directed by Phil Dean and documents their conversation. The film’s title comes from the two women’s combined ages.

It would not be an exaggeration to say that Brigitte Lacombe’s body of work reads like a who’s who of the latter part of the 20th century. Portraits of artists taken in their own studios are displayed with a selection of Lacombe’s studio portraits as part of the exhibition titled Face to Face. In the catalogue for Face to Face, Molesworth makes note of how the viewer is drawn in by seemingly insignificant personal characteristics, such as “the slight gap between Hilton Als’s two front teeth,” “the way Joan Didion’s left eye is slightly higher than her right one,” and “the sly almost-smile that pulls at the corner of Fran Lebowitz’s mouth.” In addition to that, one of her long-term projects involves filming on the sets of movies directed by Martin Scorsese. Lacombe’s set photographs show artists at work, and her photographs present an ongoing portrait of the director through time. Her work includes on-set photographs from projects such as Gangs of New York, The Departed, and The Wolf of Wall Street, amongst others.

Catherine Opie is well-known for her early photographs of members of the LGBTQ community. She employed conventional methods of portraiture in order to bring previously unrecognized groups of people into the spotlight of modern culture. In more recent years, she has been working on a series of specialized portraits of artists. Opie’s photographs in Face to Face span three decades, from 1993 to 2019, and include, amongst other people, photographs of Justin Bond, Thelma Golden, Miranda July, Glenn Ligon, Kerry James Marshall, and Rick Owens. The exhibition is titled Face to Face. Frequently, the subject of the photograph does not look directly into the lens of the camera, like in the case of the silhouetted image of Kara Walker or of Lawrence Weiner enjoying a cigarette while naked. The end result is a series of photos depicting artists lost in their own thoughts, which are lonely, wistful, and have a touch of the fantastic about them.

Helen Molesworth is a writer as well as a curator who works out of the city of Los Angeles. Pushkin and Sony Entertainment have just launched her newest podcast, titled “Death of an Artist: The Story of Ana Mendieta and Carl Andre.” In addition, she recently conducted a podcast series titled “Recording Artists” with The Getty, and she is the host of Program, which is a streaming interview series sponsored by the David Zwirner gallery and featuring interviews with artists and authors. Her major museum exhibitions include: “One Day at a Time: Manny Farber and Termite Art,” “Leap Before You Look: Black Mountain College 1933–1957,” “Dance/Draw,” “This Will Have Been: Art, Love & Politics in the 1980s,” “Part Object Part Sculpture,” and “Work Ethic.” Her work has also been featured in “Part Object Part Sculpture” and “Work Ethic.” She has staged monographic exhibits of works by artists such as Ruth Asawa, Moyra Davey, Noah Davis, Louise Lawler, Steve Locke, Anna Maria Maiolino, Josiah McElheny, Kerry James Marshall, Catherine Opie, Amy Sillman, and Luc Tuymans, among others. She has written numerous catalogue essays, and her work has been published in Artforum, Art Journal, Documents, and October, amongst other art publications. She was given the Bard Center for Curatorial Studies Award for Curatorial Excellence in 2011, followed by a Guggenheim Fellowship in 2021, and The Clark Art Writing Prize the following year in 2022.

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The Intersection of Technology and Fine Art:



How NFTs are Revolutionizing Fine Art Photography

The art world has long been dominated by traditional mediums like painting, sculpture, and printmaking. However, in recent years, a new medium has emerged that is shaking up the art world: digital art, specifically Non-Fungible Tokens (NFTs) in fine art photography.

Fine art photography has traditionally been seen as a niche within the larger art world, but NFTs are allowing photographers to create unique digital assets that can be bought and sold like traditional art pieces. In this article, we’ll explore the intersection of NFTs and fine art photography, and how this emerging trend is changing the way we think about photography as an art form.

NFTs and Fine Art Photography

So, what exactly is an NFT, and how does it apply to fine art photography? Put simply, an NFT is a unique digital asset that is stored on a blockchain. This digital asset can be anything from a piece of digital art to a video game item, or in this case, a fine art photograph.

When a photographer creates an NFT of their work, they are essentially minting a digital asset that is unique and one-of-a-kind. This means that the NFT holder owns the original digital asset, even if the photograph can be easily reproduced. In other words, the NFT acts as a certificate of authenticity for the photograph.

This is a game-changer for fine art photography. Historically, the value of a photograph was largely determined by its physical characteristics, such as the quality of the paper or the size of the print. However, with NFTs, the value of a photograph can be based on its uniqueness, scarcity, and provenance.

Creating an NFT of a fine art photograph can also open up new revenue streams for photographers. They can sell the NFT of their work directly to collectors, who can then resell the NFT to other buyers. In addition, photographers can sell prints of their photographs alongside the NFT, offering collectors both a physical and digital version of the same work.

Examples of NFT Fine Art Photography

There have been several notable examples of fine art photography being sold as NFTs, which has demonstrated the potential for this emerging trend to revolutionize the art world.

One of the most high-profile examples of NFT fine art photography is Trevor Jones’ “Piccadilly Circus”. This photograph, which depicts London’s iconic Piccadilly Circus at night, was sold as an NFT in February 2021 for over $100,000. The NFT was purchased by an anonymous buyer, who now owns the original digital asset of the photograph, making it a one-of-a-kind piece.

In November, 2021 Alyson and Courtney Aliano’s Twin Flames #49 fetched a staggering 871 ETH, earning it the fifth spot among the most expensive photographs ever sold. This puts the Alianos in the same league as iconic artists such as Andreas Gursky, Richard Prince, and Cindy Sherman, solidifying their place in the annals of art history.These sales demonstrate the potential for NFTs to unlock new revenue streams for photographers and provide a unique investment opportunity for collectors.

Beyond individual photographs, some artists are using NFTs to create entire collections of digital art. For example, Mad Dog Jones recently released a collection of NFTs called “REPLICATOR,” which features a series of digital sculptures and animations that explore themes of consumerism and mass production. The collection sold out in just a few hours, demonstrating the appetite for digital art that is sold as NFTs.

While these examples are just the beginning of what is possible with NFTs in fine art photography, they represent a significant shift in how we think about the value of digital art. By creating unique digital assets that are one-of-a-kind and cannot be replicated, NFTs are allowing photographers to monetize their work in new ways and reach a wider audience of collectors and investors.

Challenges and Criticisms

While NFTs offer many benefits to fine art photography, they are not without their challenges and criticisms. One of the main criticisms of NFTs is their environmental impact. Creating an NFT requires a significant amount of energy, which can contribute to the carbon footprint of the digital art world.

In addition, there are concerns about the speculative nature of NFTs. Some critics argue that the high prices of NFTs are driven more by hype than by the value of the underlying artwork. This has led to fears of a NFT bubble that could burst, leaving buyers with worthless digital assets.

Despite these criticisms, the use of NFTs in fine art photography shows no signs of slowing down. As more photographers experiment with this new medium, we are likely to see even more innovative uses of NFTs

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Painted Smiles and Hidden Tears: A Photographer’s Journey into the World of Circus Clowns



I have never been able to resist the allure of the mysterious world of the circus. Everything about it piqued my interest, from the flashing lights to the colorful costumes to the air of wonder and excitement. Hence, when I made the decision to start on a tour as a photographer to chronicle circuses located in different parts of the world, I knew that I was in for an exciting experience.

Polichinelo – Portugal/Brazil

My adventures have taken me to some of the most remote parts of the world, from the neon-lit streets of Tokyo to the desolate plains of Africa, and everything in between. I couldn’t help but be fascinated by the clowns no matter where I went. They were a mysterious and intriguing bunch of individuals who were usually hanging out on the outside of the circus and never quite seemed to belong with the other performers.

Harlequin – England

When I first started taking pictures of the clowns, I didn’t understand that behind their painted-on smiles, they were hiding a profound sense of melancholy and isolation. They were frequently the punch line of jokes and the objects of mockery, and yet they continued to perform night after night in the hopes of distracting themselves from their problems by entertaining the crowds.

Klaun – Czech Republic

I came across clowns who had given up everything to the bottle, including their families, their houses, and any sense of who they were. I encountered clowns who had been shunned by their communities because they were unconventional and did not adhere to the standards set out by society. And there were clowns who were just moving around aimlessly, never exactly settling into one location as their permanent abode.

Palyaço – Turkey

In spite of the challenges they faced, the clowns were some of the most strong-willed and motivational people I’d ever encountered. They instilled in me the value of perseverance, the significance of finding joy even in the most difficult of situations, and the admirable quality of being honest to one’s own nature.

Augusto – Italy

As a photographer, when I think back on my travels, I am overwhelmed with gratitude for the people I had the opportunity to photograph along the route. They not only reminded me of the significance of empathy and connection in a world that can frequently feel so cold and unconnected, but they also opened my eyes to a world that is full of wonder and possibilities.

Limited edition prints are available, please contact David S. Spivak from Focus Gallery, 201.275.5323, [email protected]

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